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Some teens that stole one of my friend's Vespa scooters were in their front yard with a chistle and a large hammer trying to bash the ignition column apart, and then all scattered when a cop just drove by on patrol- and easy catch for the cop.
Most of the people who steal laptops first and foremost log into their email and Facebook... and if you have a key logger and a way to capture their face on camera, that's a pretty strong way of identifying who stole it almost instantly.
The most popular answer of the time was a Pentax K-1000. There was a good discussion recommending I go digital (which I did in 2006 with a Nikon D-200). There was a recommendation to use exclusively slide film. Someone else pointed out to start with a lens system and then find the body you need- which I feel is great advice, but not something a beginner will really be able to use.